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Savard looking better, hopeful for playoff return 04.19.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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Bruins’ center Marc Savard skated at TD Garden Monday morning for the first time since sustaining a Grade 2 concussion after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7. Savard said that he cannot tell for sure when he will be able to return from the injury but he was much more animated than the previous times he has met with the media since the hit. He said that he has regained the weight he lost after the injury and has been able to do a little golf putting for exercise in the last week or so.

Here is the transcript from Savard’s morning press conference courtesy of the Boston Bruins media relations department:

On how long he skated this morning and what types of workouts he has been doing:

Well, today I was there for thirty minutes I think — first time I skated and I feel great. I felt great. Biggest thing was the last seven days, I had great days, you know. To be honest with you, you know, I talked to the doctor and I said, ‘Can I get out and putt or something?’ and she said, ‘yeah, go ahead.’ So I started on — I guess it was on Saturday — not this Saturday but the one before and I went out and putted for a half hour and went home, felt great, and then continued on Sunday, got out again and did a little more putting and hopefully I won’t have to use that putter for a while. So I just felt great all week and then I guess yesterday, I did that exertion test and everything felt great again last night, so today was my first day on the ice and I just feel normal again, so it’s nice.

On when he thinks he can practice with the team again:

Well, you know, tomorrow’s another big day, I guess. I got my neuro-psyche test that we have to go through and assuming I pass that, I’ll be cleared and it’s just a matter of getting back in shape. I haven’t done anything for, you know, six weeks at all, so I felt a little short-winded out there because of that, and it’s going to take some time and hopefully sooner rather than later, because I’m excited that I’m feeling good and it’s playoff time.

On if he envisions himself coming back in this series:

If you ask me, yeah, I’d love to play tonight, but you know, I got to be realistic here and take the proper steps and I’m hopeful, I’m hopeful. And I can’t see these next two games, that’s for sure, but down the road maybe, it’s going to come down to a coaches’ decision and a training decision and myself, so I think I’m still a little bit of ways away obviously, like I said, I haven’t done anything in six weeks, besides work the remote on the couch, so it’s going to take some time.

On if he regained the weight he lost:

Yeah, that came back quick. I wasn’t eating much for the first 3½, four weeks and then once I got the taste buds back, definitely ate some food, but the biggest thing is I’m just happy to feel like myself again and be around the guys, especially at this exciting time, especially watching the games on TV. You know, I couldn’t sit down the last couple of days, watching the games, running around the house and you know, there were some tense times, that’s for sure, and I’m excited.

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Read More: Marc Savard,
B’s complete comeback to claim Game 2, tie series 04.17.10 at 3:58 pm ET
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Bruins Mark Recchi (left) and Zdeno Chara celebrate a second-period goal in Saturday's series-tying win. (AP)

Bruins Mark Recchi (left) and Zdeno Chara celebrate a second-period goal in Saturday's series-tying win. (AP)

Summary — Boston turned the series around on Saturday with a 5-3 comeback win over the Sabres at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. The Bruins fell behind 2-0 in the first period before tying the game in the second and netting three in the third. Rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask earned his first career playoff win with 26 saves. Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 30 Boston shots to take the loss.

The Bruins scored three in the third period after entering the frame down a goal. They tied the game on Michael Ryder’s second goal of the game on an odd-man rush when Blake Wheeler sent the puck across the ice in front of the crease and Ryder was able to control of it and put it high into the net. The game-winner came courtesy of Zdeno Chara with a wrist shot from the point that got by Miller with an effective screen from center David Krejci.

Buffalo took an early lead for the second straight game when rookie defenseman Tyler Myers took a blast from the point that went off the skate of Boston forward Steve Begin at 2:55 in the first period. It was the rookie’s first career playoff goal. Buffalo would make it a two-goal advantage later in the period when Matt Ellis charged down the right wing and flipped a backhand shot on Rask that the netminder took a bad angle on and it beat him far side of the post at 12:00.

Boston bounced back in the second period.

The Bruins cut the lead in half at 2:35 when Vladimir Sobotka took a screaming slap shot from the high slot that hit Miller in the chest and bounced straight up in the air, over his shoulder. Ryder went crashing the net and stuck his stick in the crease to finish it off for his first goal of the playoffs. Boston’s second goal came courtesy of the captain, Chara. Johnny Boychuk hit a slap shot from the right point that center Patrice Bergeron deflected straight to the one-timing stick of Chara in the circle to tie the game at 9:54.

Buffalo reclaimed the lead late in the period when Milan Lucic turned the puck over by his own end wall. Tyler Ennis found the loose rubber and flipped it back in front to Jason Pominville who put it passed Rask at 16:41.

Mark Recchi scored an empty-net goal with 19.4 seconds left for the Bruins’ fifth goal to seal the game.

Sabres forward Thomas Vanek left the game in the first period with a lower body injury after a hooking call on Boychuk, whose stick hit Vanek’s knee. He did not return.

Three Stars

Zdeno Chara — The captain kept bringing his team back with two goals and physical play to hold down the Sabres.

Michael Ryder — The forward scored two goals for the second time in three games (two against Washington in the regular-season finale).

Blake Wheeler — He helped set up both of Ryder’s goals with effective passing and heads-up play.

Turning Point – The Bruins did not have a good third period after a dominating second in Game 1. It was a different story in Game 2 as Boston had a two-goal burst early in the period to take its first lead of the series. The game-tying goal came on a 4-on-2 rush when Wheeler sent the puck back across the ice in front of the crease and it went through defenseman Andrew Ference to the stick of Ryder, who flipped it high into the net as Miller was out of position on the other side of the crease.

Key Play – With Boston holding on to its one-goal lead, its goaltender came up huge down the stretch to seal the series-tying victory. Buffalo forward Michael Grier had a point-blank attempt on Rask midway through the third but could not complete the finish as Rask came out of the crease and aggressively knocked the shot to the corner to end the threat and preserve the lead.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Buffalo Sabres, Matt Ellis, Michael Ryder
Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabes – Game 2 04.17.10 at 2:58 pm ET
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Nothing went right for the Bruins in the first period. By the laws of hockey karma, things would have to go well in the second period.

Right?

Entering the period down by two goals and facing a serious possibility of a two-game deficit, Boston clawed its way back into the game and the series. The first goal was the type of fortunate bounce that has not been a frequent occurrence for the Bruins this year. Blake Wheeler cycled the puck from the end wall back up the wing and centered to the high slot where Vladimir Sobotka was waiting with a big stick and a big shot that he boomed towards the crease. Ryan Miller stopped it high off his chest but it bounced straight up in the air and over his shoulder. Michael Ryder crashed the net, stuck his stick into the crease and gave the puck the extra help it need to break the goal line to cut the lead in half at 2:35.

The first goal was a bit of a lucky break. The second was set up by the Bruins most steady player and finished by the captain.

Johnny Boychuk, who probably has the second hardest shot on the team after Zdeno Chara, wound up for a slap shot from the right point. Patrice Bergeron was set up in the slot in front of Miller and recognized that he had Chara in the deep corner to his right with space. Boychuk’s shot stayed low and Bergeron redirected it with a touch pass straight to the one-timing stick of Chara who buried it at 9:54 to tie the game at two.

The whole period was not perfect for Boston. Milan Lucic went to retrieve the puck on the end wall, lost it off his stick straight to that of Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis who whipped it back in front to Jason Pominville who snapped a shot passed Tuukka Rask at 16:41 to retake the lead.

Through two periods the teams are tied in the shot department at 23.

Read More: Jason Pominville, Michael Ryder, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron
First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 2 04.17.10 at 2:00 pm ET
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Take a bow, Tyler Myers.

The 20-year- old, 6-foot, 8-inch Buffalo defenseman is in the midst of his coming out party. As the second tallest man in the NHL (behind Zdeno Chara, of course), it is hard to miss the lanky blue liner but it Boston hockey fans had not noticed him in the six regular season games the Bruins and Sabres played, they sure will now.

Myers got the Buffalo on the board early with a bomb from the blue line that deflected off the skate of Boston forward Steve Begin just enough to redirect it through the crease and a diving Tuukka Rask. It was the rookie’s first ever postseason goal and the second time this series that the Sabres have taken a goal lead in the first five minutes of the game.

Buffalo had momentum all period as the Bruins could not keep themselves out of the penalty box. Vladimir Sobotka took the first when crashing the net at 6:56 for goaltender interference. Buffalo gave Boston the man-advantage as Derek Roy was guilty of holding the stick at 9:04 but Boston could not take the opportunity as David Krejci gave it right back with a high-sticking call at 9:25.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was the next to the box when he was called for hooking at 13:39 when he hacked at Thomas Vanek’s knee. Vanek lost his edge and slid into the end wall. He was hurt on the play and had trouble hobbling back to the bench and down the tunnel.

Matt Ellis made it a two-goal game for the Sabres at 12:00 when he threw a backhand at Rask the flew to the far side, off the post into the net.

That is how it stands heading into the second period, 2-0 Buffalo.

Read More: Buffalo Sabres, David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Ellis
Miller and Sabres claim Game 1 04.15.10 at 9:43 pm ET
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Summary — Playoff hockey is a different animal than its regular-season cousin. The Bruins and Sabres proved that on Thursday in Game 1 of their quarterfinal Eastern Conference matchup that was won by Buffalo 2-1 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. (Recap.)

Tuukka Rask made his first career playoff start and allowed the two goals on 32 shots but was out-dueled by veteran superstar Ryan Miller, who made 38 saves in the win.

Thomas Vanek gave Buffalo the early lead at 4:52 in the first period. He was set up by Sabres center Derek Roy, who won the puck coming out of the Buffalo defensive zone and started a break down the right wing. After making the entry, he skated to the top of the faceoff circle and laid the puck up for Vanek, who chose his spot (far side high) on Rask and buried it for the 1-0 lead.

Mark Recchi got the Bruins back into it during a second period in which his team rarely let the puck out of the Buffalo zone. In the second 20 minutes, Boston outshot the Sabres, 24-8. Recchi tied it on a power play (Toni Lydman – cross check, 8:44) when he found the puck bouncing in the slot after a booming one-timer from the point by Zdeno Chara that had been set up off the stick of Matt Hunwick. Patrice Bergeron tangled enough in front of the net to let the puck pass back through traffic on the rebound, and Recchi swept in to put it back on the top shelf at 9:30.

The tie would not last long. Boston was caught sleeping once in the second period, just long enough for Craig Rivet to beat Rask with a slap shot from the top of the right circle for the game-winner. Tim Kennedy set up Rivet with a back pass from the goal line as the Sabres captain came down the wing with a full head of steam at 14:10.

The victory gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 2 is scheduled in Buffalo for Saturday.

Three Stars

Ryan Miller — The likely 2009-10 Vezina Trophy winner and MVP candidate stood tall for Buffalo, especially in the second period, when the Bruins set a record with 24 shots, the most the Sabres have ever allowed in a period in the playoffs.

Mark Recchi – The veteran scored on the power play in the second period for his 51st career postseason goal, good for a tie for second among active NHL players.

Tim Kennedy — The Sabres forward was a pest on the ice all night and totaled a plus-two with an assist on Rivet’s second-period goal.

Turning Point – In the midst of withstanding a 24-shot period by the Bruins, Rivet was able to find enough time (which the Sabres had very little of as Boston controlled the puck all period) and space on the right wing to let loose a slap shot after a back feed by Kennedy. The goal stopped Boston’s momentum just enough to allow the Sabres to catch their breath to finish the period with the lead.

Key Play — With Boston trying to claw back in the game towards the end of the third period, two consecutive hard-luck penalties that sapped any momentum it could have gained. The first was on what looked to be a phantom tripping call on Dennis Wideman when Roy went to the ice with hardly a touch at 13:20. Right after the Bruins killed that penalty, Miroslav Satan accidentally flipped the puck over the boards into the crowd for a delay of game at 15:40 that put Boston on the kill for half of the remaining four minutes.

Read More: Buffalo Sabres, Craig Rivet, Derek Roy, Mark Recchi
Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 1 04.15.10 at 8:46 pm ET
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Maybe the Bruins power play is starting to come back to life.

They scored one in the regular season finale against Washington to break an 0 for 23 funk and then turn around to score on their first opportunity of the postseason after a Toni Lydman cross checking penalty. Mark Recchi found the back of the net off a rebound in the low slot from a Zdeno Chara slap shot from the high slot. The play was set up by a nice touch pass by defenseman Matt Hunwick on the point to give Chara the one-timer that split the Sabres forward penalty killers. Patrice Bergeron did not register and assist on the play, but he should have as his tangling play in front of Ryan Miller helped keep the puck loose from Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder long enough for Recchi to find it and put it home to tie the game at 9:30.

Boston absolutely lived in the Sabres’ zone for most of the period but, outside of the power play strike, did not have much to show for it except a bunch of shots and Recchi’s goal. Then, the moment that the Bruins let their foot off the gas pedal for a minute, Buffalo struck.

It was captain Craig Rivet that did the damage with a back pass assist from Tim Kennedy. Rivet came down the right wing from the point with a head of steam and let go a slap shot at the top of the circle that whittled its way through traffic passed Rask at 14:10.

Boston had another power play opportunity late in the period when Thomas Vanek went for tripping Milan Lucic flying through the neutral zone at 16:28. The Sabres penalty kill was more effective this time around to preserve their 2-1 lead heading into the third.

Boston outshot Buffalo 24 to 8 on the period and lead the game 33 to 20.

Read More: Buffalo Sabres, Craig Rivet, Mark Recchi, Ryan Miller
First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 1 04.15.10 at 7:55 pm ET
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Thomas Vanek taught us the first lesson in the first period of the first game in the quarterfinal playoffs series between the Bruins and Sabres — capitalize on all opportunities.

The story lines in this series are inevitably going to be about tip-ins and deflections and superb goaltending between Ryan Miller and Tuukka Rask. But Vanek, the best pure goal-scorer in the series, showed that the Sabres will not always have to rely on the dirty goals to put points on the board.

Sabres’ center and leading point scorer Derek Roy won the puck coming out of Buffalo’s defensive zone and started a break down the right wing. Once he made the entry he laid the puck up for Vanek in the high slot. The sniper picked his spot, far side and up on Rask, and let it go and the Sabres had the early lead in the game at 4:52.

Tempers flared later in the first period after a series of shots and blocks in front of the Bruins net by Tuukka Rask and defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Bruin captain Zdeno Chara got rough with former Bruin Steve Montador and forward Raffi Torres came in give Chara the what for. Away from that scrum Milan Lucic and Toni Lydman got into fisticuffs, with Lucic taking a wild swing (and missing) before Montador joined that scrum and all three went to a heap on the ice.

Sorting out the penalties.

Bruins: Chara – cross-checking, roughing, Lucic – double  roughing minor.

Sabres: Lydman, Montador, Torres — all two-minute roughing. Patrick Kaletta — 10-minute misconduct.

When it was all said and done, the Sabres had a two-minute power play that the Bruins killed off. Buffalo shortly went on another power play when Adam McQuaid went for hooking at 18:56 which brought play to the end or the period. The Sabres will start the second with a four-second man-advantage.

Buffalo leads the battle in shots thus far, 12 to 9.

Read More: Derek Roy, Milan Lucic, Patrick Kaletta, Raffi Torres
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